the secret to the best happiness bars are my fave

May 6, 2014

nanaimo bars recipe

I posted a photo of this goodness on Instagram yesterday and was surprised by the number of people who expressed they had never heard of happiness bars (also known as nanaimo bars). Okay, so it was only about five people, but in my mind that is too many. So the recipe must be shared.

These layered treats are a go-to favorite that never disappoint. And while I’ve been making them for years, my sister recently shared a secret that makes them taste even better. Simply 1 1/2 the recipe but don’t adjust the pan size (this is a good plan for rice krispie treats too). Since I’m never using the original measurements again, I’ve already adjusted the ingredients in the recipe below. Time for some happiness in bar cookie form.

nanaimo bars recipe

Happiness Bars

– 3/4 c butter
– 6 Tbsp cocoa
– 3/4 c powdered sugar
– 2 eggs, slightly beaten
– 3/4 c nuts (optional – I always leave these out)
– 1 1/2 c coconut
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 3 c graham cracker crumbs (18 whole)

Melt butter and cocoa then stir in remaining ingredients. Press in 9×13 pan and chill until set.

– 3/4 c butter
– 4 1/2 Tbsp milk
– 3 tsp vanilla dry instant pudding
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 3 c powdered sugar

Melt butter and milk together over stovetop. Add pudding mix and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Spread on the crust and chill until set.

Melt 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips then drizzle and spread on top. Chill and store in freezer, bring to room temperature to serve.

nanaimo bars recipe
nanaimo bars recipe

Remember, there’s no excuse for bad dessert.


  • On May 6, 2014 , Karen said:

    Thanks for sharing these, buddy! My bathing suit does not thank you though 😉

  • On May 6, 2014 , Karen Petersen said:

    YUM! I need to have these soon.

  • On May 7, 2014 , supplements to gain weight said:

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  • On May 7, 2014 , Lucy Carter said:

    Oh. My. Goodness! These look wonderful! I am now craving these…may just stare at the screen for a while longer…x

  • On May 7, 2014 , Jennifer Hill said:

    OMG – these look amazing! I can’t wait to make them. Thank you!

  • On May 8, 2014 , Emily M said:

    Add me to the list of people who have never heard of these. But I’m making them as soon as possible cause they look divine!!

  • On May 8, 2014 , Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land said:

    NANAIMO! oh melanie if i could take you to nanaimo… that would be just too funny. it’s a small town on the water on Vancouver Island, a few hours away from where i live!! nanaimo bars have had a place in my heart since birth, my mom would make them for special occasions and christmas n stuff when we were kids. i love you even more for loving nanaimo bars right with me!! ^__^

  • On May 16, 2014 , Polly said:

    Can anyone tell me what Graham Crackers are like? We don’t have them in the UK. I’m also gluten free but could probably find a gluten free alternative. Are they most similar to sweet cookies (like Digestive Biscuits) or savoury crackers?

  • On May 16, 2014 , jemma said:

    Polly-yes, most similar to Digestives, (used crushed for making cheesecake base for example)
    I’ve been living in the states for almost 20 yrs and plain Choc digestives are still my fave, nothing else like them in the states!

  • On May 16, 2014 , Hope said:

    Yum! I just love anything with graham crackers. It kind of tricks my brain into thinking it’s healthy. that counts right?!

  • On May 16, 2014 , The Weekly List | 17 May 2014 said:

    […] Chocolate. Coconut. Vanilla. Yum! This may not be the healthiest school lunch box filler, but how could you say no? Seriously, I couldn’t say no! The secret to the best happiness bars are my fave! […]

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